I have been wondering of late about the extent to which JWN's minions (one of whom I am beginning to see myself to some extent) differentiate the machine from its parts. What I mean is, what degree of separation is discerned between the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society and its individual members?
Henry Milner, who is a polical scientist at the University of Montreal, posits that those who rely heavily on the internet for their information ultimately become dogmatic. He states specifically that such users "are interested in fewer subjects and have more extreme views on those subjects." There is a flavour of that in here. As a context to the question above, I wonder how many of us who post in here belong to and contribute to other, unrelated forums and how many spend a lot of their waking time in just this one.
But I'm wandering off topic. My feelings and perspectives towards the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society are decidedly negative. If I am to personalise those negatives it would be in the names of Samuel Herd, Geoffrey Jackson, M. Stephen Lett, Gerrit Lösch, Anthony Morris, Guy H. Pierce and David H. Splane. My antipathy toward these men is real, though I have never met them, though I have read very little of what they have to say. But I know them through their works because their works are those of the Watchtower. I accuse them and their predecessors of hypocrisy, hubris and capriciousness. I accuse these men of causing the deaths of innocents through their nonsensical policies on vaccination, organ transplant and blood transfusion. I accuse them and their predecessors of causing the rape and murder in Malawi for want of an official piece of paper while simulaneously winking at parallel practices in Mexico. I accuse them of causing millions to squander their lives waiting for an Armageddon that will never come. I accuse them of tearing apart families through their disfellowshipping and shunning policies and I accuse them of fostering and encouraging such outcomes through their practice of child baptism. On down the line of the power structure of the Society, I accuse Don Adams, the Committee heads and members, the branch office committee members, the travelling overseers, the elders and the ministerial servants of decreasing degrees of complicity in the crimes committed by the Governing Body.
But here I draw the line. I have had unsatisfactory secular experiences with a small number of Jehovah's Witnesses. Against the frequency of similar experiences generally, the ratio seems about right. I have had a great many unsatisfactory experiences of a non-secular nature with Jehovah's Witnesses as well, but that is a function of the frequencey of exposure as well as my own flawed approach to these interacations. Substitute the Jehovah's Witness flavour with some other fundamentalist religious group and it would be the same. But I have had a great many satisfactory secular experiences with individual Jehovah's Witnesses too, many of whom are well aware that I am atheist and who, outwardly at least, seem to respect it. They will not talk to me about matters of faith, so they have drawn lines in the sand too, but neither do they prosthelytise. They are, in other words, just people to me. But it is apparent to me that there are some of us in here who see them as the enemy. I have been guilty of that too, but no longer. I do not see the rank and file as the enemy. I, in fact, sleep with one.
The Watchtower is the enemy. Without the rank and file the Watchtower crumbles. If you loathe the Watchtower and long to see it dismantled then it is counterintuitive to treat its individual members as the enemy, because that succeeds only in entrenching them and it will not, under any circumstances, influence them toward a more balanced perspective of reality.
The next time a Jehovah's Witness knocks at your door will be an opportunity to cause damage to the Watchtower and your most effective weapon will be reasonableness and courtesy. Rather than debate, which you already know you will lose to cognitive dissonance, aim to plant a small seed of doubt. In your everyday associations with Jehovah's Witnesses who are within your personal circle of concern do the same, then patiently and lovingly nurture it in hopes that it will sprout. It may not, but it is a better strategy than most, if not all, alternatives.